Round Towers 0-14
Joe Mallon SFC round one
Celbridge shook off a lackluster early start to their opening game of the championship to eventually ease home to a seven-point victory over last year's Kildare Intermediate champions Round Towers.
They struggled at times during the first half thanks to a sturdy defensive effort from Glenn Ryan's men, but they outscored their opponents by 0-10 to 0-5 in the second half to make sure of the win as the likes of John Costello, David Hughes and Dylan Corcoran made big impacts for the victors.
The big news for Celbridge - and Kildare - is the fact that Paddy Brophy came off the bench to kick a point after his recent return from the AFL, so everything bodes well for Trevor O'Sullivan's side ahead of the long break before the second round of the championship.
Round Towers were fastest out of the block, and they led by three points after eight minutes thanks to a bright start from their energetic half-back line. It was their scoring star from last year's county title win, Neil Scanlon, who looked the most assured on front of goal, slotting over a couple frees either side of a close range point from Stuart Murphy.
Celbridge were being kept at bay by a supremely disciplined Round Towers rearguard during the opening stages, but a fabulous eye of the needle pass from Dylan Corcoran exploited the smallest of gaps in their defence, to find Conor Brophy and he in turn found Davy Byrne who thundered a powerful effort straight into the top corner of Colin Farrell's net.
Scanlon responded at the other end with his first point from play, but Shane Harte pulled Celbridge level once again when he clipped over the first of his four first half points. Both sides continued to trade scores for the remainder of the half, with Scanlon landing one from play and one from a free either side of a score from Harte, but a long range score from John Costello tied matters up once again on 22 minutes.
Celbridge had the best of it for the remainder of the half, and scores from a couple of points from Davy Hughes and Harte, allied to a powerful run and point by Fergal Conway had the north Kildare side in a 1-8 to 0-9 lead at the break. Jason O'Brien and Scanlon hit the final points of the half, but it was Celbridge who finished the half the stronger.
Round Towers had the backing of the wind for the second period, and that certainly helped Matthew Kelly as he floated over a '45 upon the restart, but Celbridge responded well once again as the excellent John Costello kicked over his second point. A couple of scores from Davy O'Neill and Scanlon helped Towers narrow the gap, but that was as good as it ever got for the Kildare Town men as Celbridge turned the screw.
They reeled off six points in succession to pull clear of their opponents, with Padraic Carty, Costello and Brophy all knocking over points, while Hughes hit a trio of scores, two of which came from play.
Round Towers could hardly lay a glove on their opponents for the remainder of the game, with Matthew Kelly blazing a late effort just over to signal the end of proceedings as both sides head in different directions for the second round.
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